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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 22, 2009 7:39pm-8:00pm EDT

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he had a movie with me and my wife. they had an empty nest sort of marriage, comparable, the clintons were busy doing something. what is it like upstairs in the white house today? >> they're close to their children. they've been able to spend time with them. there's the quality family time. they make time for each other. he's talked about the fact every day he makes what he calls michelle time to be with the first lady. they've got mary ann robinson, grandmother helping with the kids. things are easier and nicer for them. they're flourishing, their personal relationship as well as his presidency. >> where did the idea michelle would be a jackie-like. i mean, you have to be careful about these things. we're both men. let's not get into a gender thing. there's something spectacular as the way she's presented herself as first lady. laura bush wasn't, mindy eisenhower wasn't. >> i spent a little bit of
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time -- i know what you're saying. i spent time with jacqui. she was a very impressive woman. she was, you know, i think michelle is just as stylish but not, frankly, as cold and aloof and removed. jacqui always looked like a deer caught in the headlights. not so here. this is a woman people can identify with. she talks about the carpools during the campaign and the parent teacher conference they still go to portray them in the most quintessentially american first family we've had which is really saying something. >> how did she transit from being a woman who had a certain mill tans about her? first of all, i'm liberal about these things. i don't think it's bad to be militant if you're an african-american. a little bit of a tooud there. is seems to be a more grand attitude than i've got a point of view that's upset with this
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country. like when she said the first time i'm proud to be an american. >> the genesis, look at this woman, when she went to princeton, her white roommate's mother pulled her daughter out of that room when she learned michelle was black. i mean, she's constantly people -- gosh, you sound so articulate, just like a white girl. she had to put up with racism on a personal level and was speaking honestly then. she's changed her tune now that she's seen in the country is in a position to change. >> see you later. thank you very much. you're a successful guy. christopher anderson the book is called "barack and michelle." the role race may be playing in the backlash of the president's program on health care. obama and former president bill clinton have something to say about the race factor. they apparently disagree. my old boss. ever worn your clothes in the shower?
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td ameritrade. built by traders, for traders. this is what i need. announcer: trade commission free for 30 days, plus get 100 dollars cash, when you open an account. if barack obama were a white president, i believe virtually 100% of the people who oppose him on health care today would oppose him on health care anyway. so i don't want to say that president carter is wrong about their being some still racial prejudice involved in the opponents of president obama, but this fight is a fight which would exist no matter what the color of his skin is because of the, look what happened in '93
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and '94 to me? >> welcome back to "hardball." that's the man once called america's first black president, bill clinton, reacting to former president carter saying the overwhelming portion of the animosity directed against barack obama is based on the fact he's an african-american. an interview with david letterman, president obama answered the same question. we'll get to that in "the politics fix." the chicago tribune's charns page. our friend. "usa today" susan page. let's ask that question. bill clinton says health care is health care. it's got the same enemies no matter who's pushing it. >> he's right. there's a difference in the way the outrage is expressed. those fines we saw on the mall during the t.e.a. party demonstrations. for example. some of them had racial innuendo to them. you know, zoo's got an african lion -- >> i call it innuendo. that's subtle. >> what's the real purpose? the purpose is to stick it to the guy in power. you know, if it were george bush
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you'd be seeing texas jokes of some kind. that's basically what it is i think. >> i don't know what's in and what's out anymore, >> i read "the new york post" and they have cartoons about david paterson being blind and it's a joke. i used to think there's a decency line about ethnicity and handicaps and stuff. where is the line? bring down the other line and you can use race against them, jam emthem. your thoughts? is bill clinton right? is jimmy carter right? who's right here? >> i think they're both right, if that's possible. it would be naive to think that race does not play a part for some of the opponents of president obama. but there are certainly nonracists who oppose president obama and have concerns about the health care plan. and as president clinton said, you know, this was a pretty fierce battle in 1993 and 1994. there was no question it was going to be a fierce battle this
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time. >> suppose -- my executive producer brought this up and i want to run it by you because it twisted my interest. and it's an interesting question. perhaps president barack obama goes through an epiphany and says we need to do something more. i think this big government is a mistake. i'm going to pull back a bit. and i'm going to kick a.c.o.r.n. in the butt a bit. will the people who despise him decide they like him? >> what has he done to offend the medical industry, the doctors? >> you're the one with policy. forgive him for being black. >> my view is, he's thrown so much meat out their to the lions, the more he throws, the more that comes at him anyway. >> forgive his background if they liked his foreground, where he was headed? hard question. >> i think those who are motivated by race, it wouldn't make a difference. but there are people in the middle who think, gee, i think we should do something about health care but i'm worried about the size of this package
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or the cost of this package. and i think it's really unfair to kind of paint them all with the same brush. >> i agree. >> and i don't think it does president obama any good to talk about race. >> you know how you know that? you know how you know that? that's what he thinks. here he is on letterman making your point. you always know where he stands, he tells you. here he is on letterman last night. let's listen. >> within the last week, a couple of days ago jimmy carter started talking about this behavior and was speculating that perhaps this unease or poor decorum was because people were rooted in racism. is he on to something there or is that just something to talk about? >> first of all, i think it's important to realize that i was actually black before the election. so -- so -- really. this is true. this is true.
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>> how long have you been a black man? >> we'll be back with clarence page and susan paige for more on the "politics fix." you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. utternut squash, utternut squash, blended with delicate herbs. v8 golden butternut squash. from campbell's. a soup so velvety and delicious you won't be able to contain yourself. campbell's v8 soups. during times like these it seems like the world will never be the same. but there is a light beginning to shine again. the spark began where it always begins. at a restaurant downtown. in a shop on main street. a factory around the corner. entrepreneurs like these are the most powerful force in the economy. they drive change and they'll relentless push their businesses to innovate and connect. as we look to the future, they'll be there ahead of us, lights on, showing us the way forward.
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we're back with ""the chicago tribune's"" clarence page and "usa today's" susan paige for more of the "politics fix." it seems to me the president is up against his first big conundrum, afghanistan.
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does he increase the troop level, perhaps up to 40,000 more trips, up to 100,000, or does he begin to pull back and fight his own general? >> we have -- we see the president in really a terrible quandary here. because he laid out a pretty clear position when he was running for president. he called afghanistan the right war. he was a recommendation from generals he says he trusts that they need more troops. but i know when the president met two months ago with a group of historians for a private winner they warned him that afghanistan loomed as a problem that could overtake his presidency as wars have in the past for lyndon johnson and others. and he told them he was mindful of those lessons of history. >> well, he may be mindful, susan, but the fact is he now has to face a real-life situation here, clarence. when your general that you trust points out that i need more troops to increase the counterinsurgency, as you laid out, not just counterterrorism, you need to control that
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country, you need more troops and the liberals don't like this. >> that's right. and republicans, conservatives, led by george will and his like are questioning our need to be there. since he made his initial statements about the -- this big war, conditions have changed over there considerably and maybe the tragedy mccrystal has in mind is not strategy we should be pursuing. i also don't know which way he's going to swing on this, chris, but does he run the risk as we we know historically about afghanistan being the place where empires go to die, he runs a big risk of a conundrum here. we don't have the troops right now, by the way, to meet mccrystal's goals. >> you know, i don't get emotional as much as people think i do, but i was reading the paper today and i'm sure you both reacted the way i did to what we saw. let's take a look at a picture. this young italian kid whose dad is a captain was killed last week over there in an explosion. you know, you tell the people in italy or the people in america that their fathers or dying to fight sharia rule in a country
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called afghanistan because we don't think that's the right way to run a country. frank gaffney says we should be fighting sharia, susan paige, on the show tonight. is that a creed for the american people? would they rally around the flag on that one? >> you know, i think the american people would rally around the idea of fighting terrorism in afghanistan because it remains a threat to americans, especially even americans here within the boundaries of the united states. but i think it's -- i think -- one reason it makes it so hard is that it puts president obama really at odds with his -- his base wants us to get out of afghanistan. it's the opposition that has been supportive by and large of the war there. that makes it more complicated. this was an issue that gave barack obama some credentials as a potential commander in chief. >> i know. >> when he was running for president. a turn is going to be something hard to do. either course is a difficult course for him to take. >> thank you very much, clarence
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page and susan paisan page. join us tomorrow night for more "hardball." we will be joined by jim traficant, who has just been released from prison and we have him coming here. "countdown" with keith olbermann starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? markup mania hits the senate finance committee. senator max baucus hits he could support a public option trigger. most republicans continue to object to just about everything. >> i find it utterly and completely appalling. >> this bill is a stunning assault on liberty. >> the stunning letter from big insurance. the big described as the sweetheart deal for insurance apparently not sweet enough for them. and in comedic perfect timing, will ferrell and funnier or die parody the health insurance companies. >> as the health care debates
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heat up. >> we need to remember who the real victims are, health insurance executives. >> meantime, the biggest health care developments happen well outside the beltway. massachusetts is a step closer to naming an immediate successor to ted kennedy's seat. the importance of getting the 60th democratic vote back in the senate for harry reid. the race debate in the health care fight. first, it was former president carter. now it's former president bill clinton weighing in. >> i believe if he were not an african-american, all of the people against him on health care were still against him, because they're all against it, too. >> health care not a big enough obstacle to tackle? president obama also hits climate change and middle east peace today. the u.s. scores a diplomatic win getting the israelis and palestinians not only in the same room but also shaking hands. >> it is past time to talk about starting negotiations. it is time to move forward. and how low will he go? tom delay dons the sequins and takes the floor on "dancing with
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the stars." >> left, left, left, that way. >> going left for me is absolutely outrag

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